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One of North America’s oldest elephants dies at PAWS sanctuary

Iringa enjoys a spray of water while she spends her first day roaming around outside at the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary on Oct. 21, 2013, in San Andreas. Iringa, at 46 years old one of the oldest African elephants in North America, died Wednesday, July 22, 2015, at the PAWS animal sanctuary.
Iringa enjoys a spray of water while she spends her first day roaming around outside at the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary on Oct. 21, 2013, in San Andreas. Iringa, at 46 years old one of the oldest African elephants in North America, died Wednesday, July 22, 2015, at the PAWS animal sanctuary. Sacramento Bee file

Iringa, one of the oldest African elephants in North America, has died at the PAWS animal sanctuary in San Andreas.

Iringa, who was 46 years old, suffered from degenerative joint and foot problems and was euthanized Wednesday. She had lived among the rolling hills of the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary since moving from the Toronto Zoo in 2013.

“She enjoyed roaming the hills of the habitat and eating natural vegetation year-round,” said PAWS President Ed Stewart.

Stewart said the pachyderm’s favorite time of the day was while at her therapy sessions when she could take her weight off her joints and feet, floating in the pool and eating treats from caregivers.

Iringa, born in 1969 in Mozambique, was captured before she was 2 years old. She was sent to the Toronto Zoo in 1974, one of seven elephants accepted by the zoo from Mozambique that year.

Iringa was sent to PAWS along with two other elephants when the Toronto City Council voted to end the zoo’s elephant program. The other elephants, Toka, 45, and Thika, 35, still live at PAWS.

“PAWS will miss this very special and dear elephant,” said Stewart, who called Toronto Zoo CEO John Tracogna to notify him of Iringa’s death.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

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